Friday, 23 July 2021

Tom Cat

The following is one of my favourites from many years ago when we had to memorise a poem every week at school and then recite it in front of the class (excruciating experience!). I believe this is no longer in the curriculum and if so I think it is a shame as we developed an appreciation of poetry despite ourselves.

Anyway, The Tom Cat really struck me and I can still recite it from memory to this day. For some reason it popped into my mind last night as I was drifting off to sleep. I think it is very expressive and captures the essence of a cat.

The Tom-Cat

At midnight in the alley
A Tom-cat comes to wail,
And he chants the hate of a million years
As he swings his snaky tail.

Malevolent, bony, brindled,
Tiger and devil and bard,
His eyes are coals from the middle of Hell
And his heart is black and hard.

He twists and crouches and capers
And bares his curved sharp claws,
And he sings to the stars of the jungle nights,
Ere cities were, or laws.

Beast from a world primeval,
He and his leaping clan;
When the blotched red moon leers over the roofs
Give voice to their scorn of man.

He will lie on a rug to-morrow
And lick his silky fur,
And veil the brute in his yellow eyes
And play he's tame, and purr.

But at midnight in the alley
He will crouch again and wail,
And beat the time for his demon's song
With the swing of his demon's tail.


  1. Yes, it is a good poem about a Tom cat.

    1. I thought of you and your 'clan' when I posted it!

  2. That is a fun poem and I like your teacher insisting you memorize poems. I am guessing they no longer do that, which is a loss.